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Nigel Davies continues to look after we oldies who neither have the time or capacity/patience to study long theoretical opening sequences. In a new Fritztrainer DVD he sets out a way to meet all the devilish openings that White can assail us with by the simplest of replies - 1...e6.   But how you might well ask.  If White has opened with either 1.e4 or 1.d4 you will soon be immersed in the many theoretical ramifications of the French Defence.  Not so!  There is still a trick up Black's sleeve.  After 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 (Nd2) he plays 3...Be7.

The Ukrainian Grandmaster, Oleg Romanishin has been a pioneer in this system but 1...e6 also has a venerable history in that Paul Keres, in his younger days, replied to 1.d4 with 1...e6 and if then 2.c4 Bb4ch.

Of course one's White opponent isn't obliged to open with either 1.e4 or 1.d4 in order that you can display your weapon of mass destruction , 1...e6, but Davies has answers available for other first move eventualities.  These mainly involve systems akin to the Bogo-Indian.

However, the major part of the five hours of video presented on this DVD deals with the French Defence and rightly so as the majority of games are started with either 1.e4 or 1.d4.   He kicks off with a a method of play against  3. Nd2 which goes 3...Be7 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.Ngf3 Nb4 6.Be2 dxe4 7.Nxe4 Nf6 8.Nxf6 Bxf6 9.0-0 0-0 10.c3 and results in the following position:

This example illustrates a feature of Davies' presentations not only on this DVD but others that he has produced in the Fritztrainer series - he puts forward suggestions that will take the game off the beaten track.  These suggestions are aimed at club players  and are well supported by his clear and objective commentary.  From the diagrammed position he offers 10...Nc6 as an alternative to the more natural looking 10...Nd5.  Most  players would object to this as it hinders a liet motif of the French Defence that at some point Black must aim for ...c5 and a knight on c6 is not going to make this particularly easy.  However, this seemingly misplaced knight has the opportunity to be re-deployed on e7 whence it has a range of good squares available (d5, f5 and g6) depending on the set up that White chooses.

Davies has researched the material he has used in this DVD very well as he indicates that the above method for Black is not so healthy against 3.Nc3.

The Advance Variation against the French can give Black a bit of a headache in particular as his king's side development is constrained.  Here Davies recommends 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.ef c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Bd7 with the idea of exchanging the white-squared bishops which otherwise has a very dim future for Black.  Of course, White isn't going to willingly concede to this but it would seem that Black has every chance to to get some decent play. Once again White has various options to try to thwart Black and Davies  gives these alternatives and deals with them in his normal competent manner.

In all, thirteen of the twenty-six lectures are devoted to the French Defence before passing onto other openings.  Here we are introduced to ideas in the Franco-Indian, Catalan, Anti-Torre, Anti-London and Anti-Colle.

As is usual with all such Fritztrainer DVD's, whole games are examined  and the viewer has the chance to observe the effect that opening ideas have on the middle game.  On this DVD twenty-five games are offered for scrutiny featuring such players as Romanishin, Gurevich, Korchnoi (who can talk about the French Defence without mentioning Korchnoi) Short and Alekhine.

The material reviewed on the DVD has been well selected, structured and is presented in a clear lucid manner which is easy to remember - an essential feature for we oldies.  However, like all innovative opening ideas in this computer age, a wealth of theory can be quickly generated so the best advise to offer is to get this DVD, study it, practice it and put the knowledge to use as soon as possible before your prospective opponents set Fritz to work and sabotage your newly acquired expertise.


The recommended price of  "1...e6 A Solid Repertoire" is 24.95.  Further details can be seen here